To initiate the divorce process, one spouse must file a divorce complaint with the court. That spouse becomes the plaintiff. The spouse must indicate a legitimate reason for the divorce recognized by the state of New Jersey divorce laws. We call this the grounds for divorce or cause of action. Divorces are categorized as fault and no-fault. Most divorces fall under the no-fault category in the state of New Jersey.
How Do I File for Divorce in New Jersey?
If you are citing no-fault grounds for divorce such as irreconcilable differences, you must meet the following criteria:
- You or your spouse have lived in New Jersey for at least 12 consecutive months before filing for divorce.
- You or your spouse have experienced irreconcilable differences for at least six months before filing your complaint for divorce.
- The irreconcilable differences are the reasons that your marriage should dissolve.
- You are confident there is no other way to reconcile.
You can also pursue your divorce on the other no-fault ground for divorce: separation for a period of 18 months. If this is the case, you must prove to the court that you and your spouse have lived in separate dwellings (not just in separate bedrooms) for at least 18 months.
The use of fault grounds for divorce is less common but includes extreme cruelty, addiction or habitual drunkenness, imprisonment, deviant sexual conduct, adultery, or desertion. In fault divorces, the misconduct can influence how the court decides upon decisions related to child custody and in rare cases alimony as well.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Divorce in New Jersey?
Sometimes achieving a divorce agreement in NJ is relatively quick and painless. Other times, depending on the couple’s circumstances, the process can be incredibly complicated. That said, depending on the county in which your case is filed, most New Jersey divorces take about 2 years to conclude. This is the statewide average. At DeTorres & DeGeorge Family Law, our average completion time is only 12 months, half the statewide average. However, if the parties are motivated, amicable and organized with the information and documents about their financial life, the process can be much quicker.
Can You File for Divorce in NJ Online?
Are you considering pursuing an online divorce in New Jersey? Since the statewide shelter in place rules went into effect during Covid-19, the NJ courts have allowed divorces to be filed online. In fact, all divorce and family law proceedings are conducted virtually at the present time either by video or telephone conference. All papers needing to be filed with the court including complaints for divorce can be filed electronically through the court’s online system known as JEDS. No in-person hearings are being held, with some exceptions for contested cases.
Alternatives To Filing An Online Divorce in New Jersey
Divorce mediation can save divorcing couples both time and money. Additionally, the mediation process tends to result in quicker dispute resolution, fewer conflicts, and an increased sense of privacy.
Mediators work to help couples come to a practical divorce agreement without litigation. In New Jersey, these sessions can occur by video or telephone conference in the presence of a neutral mediator, who helps the parties reach an amicable settlement of all marital issues. All communication remains confidential. After the mediation concludes, the mediator prepares a memorandum of understanding. Once both parties sign this memorandum, it becomes a binding contract.
Should I File for Divorce in New Jersey Online?
There isn’t a straightforward answer to this question. As of June 2020, the only way to file for divorce in New Jersey is electronically through the court filing system known as JEDS. While you may wish to pursue an online divorce in New Jersey, divorce laws are complicated, and the process can cause tremendous stress for everyone involved.
Seeking legal counsel can help you best prepare for moving forward. At DeTorres & DeGeorge, our attorneys will support you throughout the entire process. We strive to ensure the very best outcomes for our clients. Contact us today to learn how we can help you.